The Two-Way

Weekend Brings 'Worst Day Yet' For Aleppo Hospitals, And No Syria Deal In Sight


Members of the Free Syrian Army enter Dabiq village north of Aleppo on Sunday. Rebels say they have retaken Dabiq from the Islamic State.
Anadolu Agency, Getty Images
Members of the Free Syrian Army enter Dabiq village north of Aleppo on Sunday. Rebels say they have retaken Dabiq from the Islamic State.

The United States and Britain say they are considering imposing economic sanctions on both Syria and Russia, according to The Associated Press.

The announcement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Britain's foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, came at the end of a weekend of talks about the wars in Syria and Yemen.

After calling for a ceasefire in Yemen, Kerry and Johnson told reporters on Sunday that all options — including military action — were on the table, the AP reported, although Kerry also said he did not think countries should "light a fire" under the Syrian conflict.

"I haven't seen a big appetite from governments in Europe to declare war," he said of the possibility of military force.

On Saturday, Kerry attended a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss the Syrian war with counterparts from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other regional powers. The meeting broke up after less than five hours with no public statement, reported the BBC.

The meeting came a little over a week after Kerry said Russia's bombing of civilians in Syria "beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes."

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In Syria on Sunday, Syrian rebels said they had recaptured the village of Dabiq, north of Aleppo, according to Reuters. The Islamic State frequently references Dabiq — the group's English-language propaganda magazine even goes by the same name, as we have reported.

The leader of one of the Free Syrian Army factions involved in taking back Dabiq, Ahmed Osman, told Reuters ISIS had been determined to realize the "myth of their great battle" fighting the West in Dabiq, but that with the help of Turkish tanks and aircraft, the rebels had taken back the village.

A spokesman for Turkey's president called it a "strategic and symbolic victory," the wire service reports.

But the U.S. state department says its main area of concern is still the Syrian city of Aleppo. At a press briefing on Friday, Mark Toner, a deputy spokesperson for the state department, told reporters "the urgent need right now in front of us is some kind of cessation of hostilities, at least a significant reduction in the level of violence certainly in and around Aleppo, and that's going to be a primary focus."

A new report from Doctors Without Borders said four hospitals in the city had been hit by Syrian and Russian airstrikes Friday, calling it the "worst day yet" for Aleppo's "struggling health care system."

The aid group cited local officials in rebel-held eastern Aleppo as saying at least 62 civilians died between October 11 and 13, and that 467 people, including 98 children, were wounded.

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